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An “Endangered runaway” is a child under 18 years old who has run away from a parent, guardian, or state care facility. According to the National Runaway Safeline, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year in the U.S.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for running away from home or state care are multifaceted, and there is no typical runaway.

The following factors may put youth at an increased risk of running away or becoming homeless:

  • Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Self-harm
  • Medical conditions
  • Mental illness diagnosis
  • Has previously run away
  • Involvement in gangs or child sex trafficking

By the Numbers

in 2017, 91% of the 27,000 cases reported to NCMEC, 91% were for endangered runaways.

To search for a missing child and view posters of those missing in your area, click here.

51% of endangered runaways reported to NCMEC were between 16-17 years old
22% of all endangered runaway children who were intaked by NCMEC in 2016 had multiple missing incidents in the same year

Learn more about child sex trafficking here.

What NCMEC is Doing About it

Supporting Victims and Families

For families with a missing or sexually exploited child, NCMEC provides support services like crisis intervention and local counseling referrals to appropriate professionals. Our Team HOPE program connects families with peers who have had similar experiences and can offer coping skills and compassion. When a missing child is recovered, we help families with the reunification process, including mental health services and travel assistance.

Raising Public Awareness to Help Bring Them Home

With help from our private-sector photo partners, we coordinate the creation and dissemination of missing child posters to targeted geographic areas to help generate leads and engage the public in the search.

The public can also help in the recovery efforts by signing up in The ADAM Program to receive missing child alerts in their area. 

Runaway Train 25

Twenty-five years ago, the song "Runaway Train" featured missing children in its music video and helped close 21 cases! For the 25th anniversary of the song, we reimagined "Runaway Train" with new artists and a dynamic music video that updates itself with missing children from the NCMEC database based on a user's location. That means more missing children in front of more people in more relevant places.

Watch #RunawayTrain25 and help us bring home #Missingkids.